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“They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel”, with Jamie Duran and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

“They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.” It has always been a way I lead in business and family, truly connecting with people and engaging. Reaching deep and finding out what makes them tick. It has to come from the heart and connecting on a real human […]


“They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.” It has always been a way I lead in business and family, truly connecting with people and engaging. Reaching deep and finding out what makes them tick. It has to come from the heart and connecting on a real human level, and you can’t fake it. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you say, but spending time with people and connecting, especially your children, makes them feel loved and connected to something bigger than a superficial relationship. That is ultimately the end goal, and the relationship you have with them will be built on deep care, trust and love always, because you truly care.


As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents”, I had the pleasure to interview Jamie Duran. Jamie is president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Southern California, with approximately 5,550 agents and 78 offices in Southern California, including the Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego markets. She recently received the Industry Leader of the Year award, and was named in Swanepoel T3 Group’s “Top 200 Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate 2017/18” list. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is part of NRT LLC, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I have two older brothers and we are all one year apart, and I have a sister who is seven years younger. My mom is the oldest of eight kids from a small town in Iowa. She moved to California when she was very young and got into the computer business in the 1960s at IBM where she met my dad. He was a computer repairman and as they tell it, he came out to fix a problem, and as soon as he solved it, love struck. My mom stayed in corporate America and moved to Disney but my dad was an entrepreneur at heart. When they divorced after 15 years, he followed those dreams which included a delivery service, wine distribution and real estate investments. That’s what influenced my career. During college he asked me to help run his businesses and I ended up getting my real estate license at his urging, doing some investing and flipping. When he turned to some other shiny penny, I just kept doing real estate, and never looked back.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

I am very goal oriented and competitive. Interestingly, I didn’t set the goal to get where I am now. I just put my head down and did the very best job I could. Everything I did — from serving clients to serving agents — led to getting tapped on the shoulder. I really care about those around me and want the best for them. It’s not about me or my ego. I am transparent in my leadership communication and have always believed in the philosophy that there are no problems, only solutions, and there is always a way to yes; no is not an option in customer and agent service.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

During the week if I get up at 5 am, it is an elliptical work out in the garage and a 15 minute miracle morning of affirmations, gratitude, stretching and breathing. If I hit the snooze, I at least get in my morning affirmations. Then I grab some green tea or coffee, depending on my mood, rattle our teenage daughter for school and let the dog out. I check out my schedule for day and a few emails before I hit the shower. I grab a protein shake and make sure our daughter has some breakfast while gathering some fruit for us as a snack and we are all out the door by 7 am. My husband, Raul, takes her to school and I head to the field. I hit branch offices, events, operations meetings, and appointments with recruits, agents, managers and my leadership team. I get home between 6:30 and 7:30 pm with a goal of always having dinner with at least one family member every night. We used to all sit down for dinner together, but now it depends on the schedules. After dinner, we sit together while our daughter does homework and I read and respond to emails or just read. We are together and I help her with homework and ask questions and engage about our days. Weekends are filled with soccer games, beach time, hiking with the dog, or watching our daughter surf. Our son comes home from college for dinners and movies, and we love to play family card nights and board games. It is definitely all about the family and quality time.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

I see it happen so often when parents just think it’s okay being with their kids but not really being with them in the moment or engaged. It validates their importance as humans and teaches them to be emotionally engaged and present with others. Kids notice and it shows as they deliver the same treatment to others. Kids do what we do not do as we say. Even when I am away on business trips, I talk to my kids and check in and engage in their day. It definitely matters.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

As parents, we are told our kids are incredibly well behaved, good humans, kind, polite, helpful and respectful. That is music to any parent’s ears. I really believe that is due to the choices we made as parents. We made sacrifices on vacations and material things so we could give our kids private Catholic education, for example, and have one parent stay at home. We made sure the kids were always busy in sports, clubs and community service so they could be social but stay out of trouble. Kids need structure and rules to thrive. They need love, engagement and care to build their confidence. Most importantly they need quality time more than quantity. We make sure to focus on each other when we are together so phones are away and questions are engaged. In the end, this has built great trust and solid relationships between us as parents and children today — we can really talk about anything and everything. We end every call with “I love you” and every visit or day with a hug.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

-The phones go away during dinner or meals.

-When we drive together or hang out, I always ask open-ended questions about their day, or how they feel about a certain news story, event or what’s happening in school or within our community.

-We walk the dog together or run errands together with a fun ending such as, “if we get X done today, we will go get ice cream or see a movie.”

-We do things together as a family but also separate with each child so that they get that very important one on one time.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

-There are always more hours in a day that we can find. Just add one on either end or take one in the middle.

-Take out something that isn’t important. Consider how many hours a day you might watch TV or spend on social media. Cut back or stop it altogether!

-Spend time in the moment with your kids.

-Prioritize your kids’ time. We are building the next humans in the world, and it is our responsibility to make them great.

-Do what you are already doing such as walking the dog, running errands, exercising, and invite them to do it with you. Make it fun.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

A good parent provides unconditional love. Period.

We have a rule: no lying. If you tell the truth, the punishment will be a lot less. And the parent always finds out sooner or later, so better be honest! I think also just asking questions and listening while trying to solve all their problems is ideal. A good parent lets the child learn their own lessons and picks them up with a hug when they fall. Our son had an issue in high school where some of his friends got into trouble. He had to answer for things they did just by his association with them. He came to me for advice early on and was honest, and I was his sounding board. He learned a lot through his own experiences, but I believe the deposits we made of what is right and wrong and full transparency of the whys helped him learn quickly. I listened and commended him for coming through the experience with humility.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

This is a constant conversation and one that just includes asking questions of them regularly: “What do you want to do? Why do you want to do that? What would you do if you had no fear or obstacles? What do you love to do now in school? What Inspires and how does it inspire you?”. I think asking these questions when they are young and continuing to do so as they grow, encourages their dreams and challenges them to dream bigger.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

I think we have to strive and commit to be the best we can be in everything we do from work to home. It is all connected. Success is measured equally from the outside looking in as the inside looking out. You have to feel good about yourself on the inside and help others be successful. Success is tied to your own goals, doing better than you did last time, pushing harder and achieving your personal happiness, not by someone else’s standards. Sometimes there is success in changing careers or stepping back a level and doing a stronger job.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

Real life is my resource. My dad actually taught me in the early years how important vacations and time off was to our young family. Those were some of my best memories. Later through the divorce, he taught me how damaging not being around could be to a child growing up, and the importance of a long-term relationship of a father and his kids. My mom is the best example of unconditional love and she always stays in touch with us kids, asking the questions and engaging with us and our kids. She’s always there for every life event and as many sports events as possible. My grandma is the best example of true family and connects us as the center of the universe when we gather, which we do often even though she is in the Midwest in a small town with nothing to do. We have each other, and that’s all we need. My siblings all show up every day for their kids, fully engaged and would do anything for them, and the cousins would do the same for each other, no questions asked. My husband would go anywhere, at any time for our kids while still being the disciplinarian, providing the strict boundaries needed to raise children in today’s world.

Otherwise, if I had to pick one written document, I’d pick the Dash Poem. The Dash is the time between the date you were born and the date you die; it is a symbol for making each day count.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.” It has always been a way I lead in business and family, truly connecting with people and engaging. Reaching deep and finding out what makes them tick. It has to come from the heart and connecting on a real human level, and you can’t fake it. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you say, but spending time with people and connecting, especially your children, makes them feel loved and connected to something bigger than a superficial relationship. That is ultimately the end goal, and the relationship you have with them will be built on deep care, trust and love always, because you truly care.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

A kind activity a day movement — a random act of kindness. Imagine if we all did one thing a day and were just kind to one stranger a day. I always think of what thought bubble is above someone’s head. What are they going through today? If we could make a difference one person at a time with a simple hug, without fear of being ridiculed, or a moment of eye contact that says it is all going to be okay. How can we be kinder, gentler humans to each other in the world with simple acts of kindness? A simple hello, asking how they are, stopping to really hear them. Saying hi by a wave of hand to a stranger in your neighborhood and then after a while everyone is doing it. Or visiting the elderly, just because you have an extra hour. Simple, but the world for our kids would be a better one in the future if we did just that.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Thank you for this opportunity to share.


Dr. Ely Weinschneider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in New Jersey. Dr. Ely specializes in adolescent and adult psychotherapy, parenting, couples therapy, geriatric therapy, and mood and anxiety disorders. He also has a strong clinical interest in Positive Psychology and Personal Growth and Achievement, and often makes that an integral focus of treatment.

An authority on how to have successful relationships, Dr. Ely has written, lectured and presented nationally to audiences of parents, couples, educators, mental health professionals, clergy, businesses, physicians and healthcare policymakers on subjects such as: effective parenting, raising emotionally intelligent children, motivation, bullying prevention and education, managing loss and grief, spirituality, relationship building, stress management, and developing healthy living habits.

Dr. Ely also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column about the importance of “being present with your children”.

When not busy with all of the above, Dr. Ely works hard at practicing what he preaches, raising his adorable brood (which includes a set of twins and a set of triplets!) together with his wife in Toms River, New Jersey.

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